webMethods

(WEBM)

, the integration software company that said earlier this month it will meet or exceed guidance and consensus estimates, reported Thursday that it broke even on a pro forma basis a quarter earlier than expected.

Including all charges, the Fairfax, Va.-based firm reported a net loss of $15.7 million, or 31 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, which ended March 31. That compares with a net loss of $46.8 million, or 97 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Excluding certain charges, webMethods lost $176,000, breaking even on a per-share basis, on revenue of $50.7 million. A year ago, the company posted pro forma earnings of $278,000, or 1 cent a share, on revenue of about $61.8 million. License revenue increased 8% sequentially to $32.8 million and overall revenue rose 3% sequentially.

Analysts were expecting a loss of 5 cents a share on revenue of $49.7 million, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Before webMethods announced on April 3 that it would meet or exceed guidance and estimates, analysts were predicting a loss of 6 cents a share on revenue of $48.4 million.

In a press release, CEO Phillip Merrick said that a gain in market share and strong partnerships helped the company return to pro forma break-even a quarter ahead of schedule.

Including charges, webMethods reported a net loss of $82.7 million, or $1.67 a share, on $196 million in revenue in fiscal year 2002, which also ended March 31. That compares with a net loss of $131.6 million, or $2.81 a share, on $202 million in revenue in fiscal year 2001.

On Wednesday, webMethods closed up 28 cents, or 2.0%, at $14.27.